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Public recrimination against Pakistan must stop: FM Hina

21 September, 2011

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NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that there should be no public recrimination of Pakistan.

"We need to be assisted, not recriminated," she said while talking to reporters in New York. "There should be no public recrimination. This must stop," she said, adding that Pakistan needs to be assisted, not recriminated. Pakistan is into a relationship of choice with the United States on the basis of mutual interests, rejecting the impression that in her meeting with Hillary Clinton on Sunday, Washington gave an ultimatum to Islamabad to attack Haqqani group militants.

"There are some misperceptions about the 3-1/2 hours meeting I had with Secretary Clinton. There were no ultimatums from either side," she said.

The relationship between Pakistan and the United States was an important one and no one is a hostage to it, said Khar, who is leading Pakistan's delegation to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. "Pakistan is in it by choice," she added.

The US officials said after Sunday's talks that the issue of counter-terrorism in general and the Haqqani network in particular were the first and the last topics discussed by the foreign minister and Clinton.

But Khar said the meeting was not unidimensional - devoted to a single issue - it covered all the issues of interest to Pakistan and the United States. "It was intense but very constructive" at which both sides had candid discussions on a wide range of issues with a view improving the ties between the two countries.

Both the US and Pakistan, she said, understand the need to cooperate and build a partnership.

Pakistan had made "big" sacrifices in combating terrorism, having lost some 30,000 citizens and 5,000 army and police personnel killed, the foreign minister said. She pointed out that Pakistan even paid a heavy price for arresting a militant in Quetta recently – al Qaeda leader Younis al-Mauritania - when 30 people lost their lives in a revenge attack.

Pakistan was committed to rooting out terrorism and was fulfilling its obligations in this regard, Khar said. But Pakistan acted in its own national interest, not at the behest of some one, she added. Pakistan also wants peace and stability in Afghanistan and would support any Afghan-lead reconciliation process or whatever goal the Afghan people set for themselves.

The foreign minister said that stakes were very high in Afghanistan, and Pakistan was aware that it would have to deal with the baggage when the conflict was over.

Replying to a question, Khar said during the meetings with her counterparts she has been briefing them about the flood damage in Pakistan and urging for support to the ongoing efforts to provide relief to the five million victims.

Meanwhile, Khar called for stepped up economic cooperation with Pakistan when she held talks with her counterparts from Britain, Italy and Latvia.

She met British Foreign Secretary Wlliam Hague, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Latvian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. In her meetings, Khar reiterated Pakistan's desire to enhance economic cooperation with all three countries at the bilateral level as well as at the level of the European Union.


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